Journ Student Jess

Student journalist looking for feedback on assignments and journalism in general

Posts Tagged ‘Michigan

The day DOMA was struck down (an intern’s perspective)

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Courtesy Photo | Colorlines.com

If I had known how Wednesday, June 26, was going to end up, I might have packed a lunch or drank more coffee. I would have come up with a posting schedule for articles, lined up interviews and contacts, drank more coffee. I should have been more aware of the potential news happening in the nation’s capitol, as nine justices ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act and changed the lives of so many.

I’m not sure what news site I was reading at 11 p.m. that day but when I announced the breaking headlines to my editor, I knew I had my assignments for the day. So began a feverish race to call the local congressional offices, get a hold of the Tri-City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride group leaders, updating a multimedia element regularly while being sent on a goose chase of an assignment.

I have been home for a few hours now and as I seem to have mellowed out a bit, the gravity of what today means is starting to hit me. I was only six years old when DOMA passed but understood by 18 what California’s Prop 8 did and how I felt about it. It was wrong. To deny the right of two people, who love each other and want to make a commitment for the rest of their lives, is wrong.

MacKenzie Burger | For MLive.com

I am getting pretty tired but feel the need to get my point across. Today, I spoke with people who disagreed with the Supreme Court justices and others who felt they did the right thing. Some people called me to talk about disapproval and said marriage is between one woman and one man. One person in particular told me plans of proposing to their partner of 13 years as soon as marriage is legal in Michigan. In my head, I respect all of those opinions and believe I did my best to write in an objective and thoughtful manner.

But in my heart, I am rejoicing. Prop 8 has been overturned and the shock waves of DOMA have only begun. There is a vote ahead, an important one and I plan to make sure mine counts for equality.

Here are the stories I worked on today regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA:

Supreme Court Defense of Marriage Act ruling draws reactions from Bay City, Midland and Saginaw residents

Saginaw, Midland elected officials give their takes on Supreme Court’s Defense of Marriage Act ruling

Saginaw ACLU-affiliated attorneys say Supreme Court ruling ‘the right end result’

 

Here’s a cute picture of an owl to celebrate! Click here to read it’s story of being saved by a Saginaw police officer.

Courtesy Photo | MLive.com

Written by hayne2jr

June 27, 2013 at 2:37 am

First Week Great, Second So-so

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I started off this week on an assignment at Shields Elementary in Saginaw. The school just started a new program called ‘base camps’ which focuses on what areas the students need improvement and creating a school-wide community. Although it can be hectic and stressful sometimes, working and talking with kids is a part of my job and I enjoy doing it, especially when the kids are so excited about learning!

Photo Credit: Jeff Schrier, MLive.com

Matthew Guerrero, 9, a fourth-grader at Shields Elementary School, 6900 Stroebel in James Township, pauses while writing his acrostic poem at his “author’s Purpose” daily literacy base camp. 

My photo editor took some great photos of teachers working with their students to help them excel, to check out the full article and photo gallery click here! I visited Shields on Monday but it took me a couple days to work out the organization of the article since there was so much information about the base camps to include. In all, I spoke with eight different sources, from a 5th grade student who was “a little nervous” about moving up a grade to an instructor, to visiting school officials who have heard of the success of boot camps and had to see it for themselves. I was glad to see this system is working out and the positive impact it has had on both teachers and students.

On Monday, I also got a present I had been waiting for for a long, long time. The newest intern found an iPhone in her MLive backpack and after showing it to our editor, he revealed that one was sent to the office for me as well! Although MLive used to provide work phones for interns, during my last internship that was not an option. So imagine my surprise to receive my very first, totally paid for by the company, iPhone 4S! I am still learning the in’s and out’s of this product, with help from my coworkers, but am glad to start building on my knowledge of Apple, since it is a game-changer today in the world of news.

Unfortunately, my week hit a snag when I received a call from my younger sister on Wednesday. She told me her dog, a pit bull mix named Ruger, had to be put down and was understandably upset; she had rescued him from a future of dog-fighting in Detroit and loved him like her kid. It was a rough night, made even more terrible when on my way out to say goodbye to Ruger, I hit a deer on M-30.

The impact has left me pretty shaken and nauseous, with some front-end damage to my poor little Cobalt, which I was about to pay off totally this week. It was dark out and I didn’t see the deer coming but luckily my seat belt locked up instantly and saved me from serious injury. I was able to drive the car to my sister’s, say my goodbyes and drive home, red-eyed, exhausted and feeling pretty down.

Photo Credit: Jessica Haynes

The Chevy logo is now a foot inside of my Cobalt after hitting a deer on M-30. it is currently in the dealership awaiting repairs, it’s second visit in less than a year due to animals crossing the road.

There was a staff meeting planned for the next morning for both the Saginaw and Bay City hubs and although I did not get any sleep and was not emotionally up to it, I managed to pull together and get to the office, with help from fellow reporter Justin Engel. Typically, staff meetings are only about an hour long; my boss gives out kudos for good work, informs us of any changes we need to know of and connects us with state and company-wide policies. It had been so long since the last meeting so we had a lot to go over and had some great conversations about content and quality journalism, so while I am glad I attended, I wish I had been feeling better and able to contribute more.

Afterwards, I explained to my editors what happened and they reacted exactly how I thought they would: with understanding, kindness and empathy. I was able to take the rest of the day off to make an insurance claim, visit the doctor and take my car to the dealership for repairs.

I thought I would be fine but apparently, my digestive system was not up to par this morning when I showed up at the office. I tried so badly to feel better but couldn’t risk staying in the office and embarrassing myself in front of coworkers and visitors. Luckily, my dad was able to pick me up from work and lend me a car to use until I am once again mobile.

Even more luckily, I called my editor and he told me not to work the rest of the day and to relax. Truthfully, it made me cry, to hear him say that and know my bosses are really looking out for me and have my best interests at heart. I have always pressured myself to do my best and overcome any pain I am feeling, from tension migraines or sore feet from working two jobs. 

Today has made me even more determined to work hard for this company and do what I can to contribute to its success. Besides being grateful for an opportunity student journalists don’t usually get, I am thankful for co-workers and editors who want what is best for me and know when I am pushing myself too much.

Sometimes, it’s not about the people who push or motivate you, it’s the people who want you to take a step back and look at yourself or what you are doing who will do the most for you. Self-reflection is key to keeping a straight course in this career of fighting for reader views and front-page status. I’m lucky to be surrounded by those who keep me on track.

I’ve been thrilled with the number of people commenting on my posts, especially those asking for advice or giving me encouragement. If you have any more questions, suggestions for future posts or something you would like to know, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. You guys are great, so as thanks for reading, here is a picture of my dog Murphy, that I thought was really cute. Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Photo Credit: Jessica Haynes

Snapped this photo last night as my dog rolled around and his ear stood straight up for about five minutes.

 

 

 

 

Written by hayne2jr

May 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

What’s Different (and the Same) from the Last Internship

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It seems a lot of people have appreciated my list of lessons from last week and it got me thinking about the things I learned last year, during my fall internship with MLive, and what I could be learning this summer. Although I am working in the same offices, with most of the same people, there are a few key differences between my internships that could change what kind of content I produce.

DIFFERENCES

  • Time of the year: The fall is usually pretty busy in regards to the news; elections, back-to-school and construction sites putting the last touches on brand-new buildings. Summers in Saginaw get a bit crazy; crime rate spikes are attributed to increased gang activity during warmer months so I am expecting to hear more gunshots and possibly report on shootings or injuries within the area.
  • Intern team: Last year, I worked with Emily Pfund and Josh Roesner on stories like Doomsday prophecies, the long-anticipated Twilight release and police beats. We had a lot of fun and I’m glad to say they have both moved on to adult jobs at their own chosen publications. I’m excited to get to know Darcie Moran from Michigan State University, the newest intern at The Saginaw News.
  • Experience: Although my first day was mostly spent getting back into the system and clearing out my overstuffed inbox, I was able to post and get back into the swing of things relatively quickly. Since I am familiar with the systems in place at the office, it helped streamline the process of making contacts and working on story projects with other reporters at the Saginaw News. 

SIMILARITIES

  • Same office: Even though I started my internship last year in the office of The Bay City Times, renovations were soon completed at Saginaw and we were able to see our beautiful new office in the downtown area’s Ippel Building. I know how to get there at least four different ways and it’s a central location. Great for meeting for interviews, catching up with coworkers or going out to eat for a break during the day.
  • Same editors: I am pretty fortunate to have the editors I work with on a daily basis. Since the beginning, they have supported me, encouraged me and nudged me in the right direction. Ever since I met my boss Rob Clark at the Michigan Press Association, he has given me chances to shine, improve my writing styles and helped me stand out  from a crowd of other interns. When this summer internship become available and someone was needed in a hurry, I was the first one called and I’m grateful to have that sort of influence.
  • Same purpose: Journalism is not a dying breed but it is definitely changing. But the one thing I like about this career is my motivation stays the same: Inform the public, educate the community and engage residents. My time at MLive has helped me help others and made me realize it is not just a reporter’s job I want, but the responsibilities of being a journalist. 

 

Thanks for hanging in while I reflect back and look forward to the future with my new internship. I was supposed to work a night shift today but got up early to shoot some pictures of local apple orchards for a story I wrote about the recent weather. The full article is available here if you would like to see the gallery and learn more about the predicted crop this year. Have a great day!